Veteran news anchor Lisa LaFlamme says she was “blindsided” as Bell Media ended her contract at CTV National News after 35 years, a “business decision” it says will move the chief news anchor role in “a different direction.”
In a video posted on social media, LaFlamme says she remains “shocked and saddened by Bell Media’s decision,” which cuts her ties to the network after 35 years.
Bell Media announced her departure today, but LaFlamme says she was told of the decision on June 29.
In a separate announcement, Bell Media says Omar Sachedina will replace LaFlamme starting on Sept. 5. Sachedina is the CTV News national affairs correspondent and joined the network in 2009.
The company described the move as a “business decision” heading “in a different direction,” recognizing “changing viewer habits.”
LaFlamme assumed CTV’s top news anchor role in 2011 when Lloyd Robertson retired at 77. He had spent more than four decades as a national news anchor at the network.
LaFlamme was named to the Order of Canada in 2019 and earlier this year won best news anchor at the Canadian Screen Awards.
In her social media video, she thanked viewers and her colleagues for their “unwavering support” while she acknowledged this was likely her official sign-off from CTV.
“At 58, I still thought I’d have a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives,” she said in a video posted on social media.
“Instead, I leave CTV humbled by the people who put their faith in me to tell their story.”
LaFlamme’s exit from the network was met with immediate reaction on social media from friends, viewers and colleagues.
Ian Hanomansing, one of the anchors at CBC’s competing nightly news broadcast “The National,” said he was “at a loss for words.”
“Lisa is among the very best at what she does. I know surprisingly arbitrary decisions can be made in this business but Lisa, you deserve better than this. Way better,” he posted on Twitter.
Global National anchor and executive editor Dawna Friesen agreed with Hanomansing that LaFlamme “deserved better” and reflected on the pair’s years together at CTV.
— with files from Global News